Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Social Justice

Check your own damn privilege

I love the internet in general. I spend a lot of time on it, and I find so much value in it. THat being said, there are downsides as there are to everything. One thing is how it’s easy for someone’s opinions to harden because of the echo chambers on line. And things that started out with genuine good purposes can become meaningless.

One of those is, “Check your privilege.” In the beginning, it was used to point out to people that the way they lived/thought was not the same for everyone. As a recent example, working from home and the pandemic. The assumption that eveyrone could work from home during the pandemic was very white collar-specific, and those in blue collar/retail jobs rightly pointed out how frustrating it was.

So, yes. It’s good to examine your own privilge when you’re talking to other people. But, at some point, it became a snap response to anyone offering a solution the first person did not agree with. I mentioned the boob post at AAM in which a few people talked about that it was a privilege to quit a job that imposed rules upon you with which you did not agree.

To which I and others said, “Well, yes. And?” The point being, saying something is a privilege doesn’t really add to a conversation in and of itself. I find it frustrating for many reasons. One, we all have privilge to some degree. If you’re commenting on AAM, you’re probably privileged. The demos skew to highly-paid white women, and it’s not even close. If they live in America and/or the UK< they’re privileged. Have a car? Privileged.

In addition, offering a solution that not everyone can do–well, that’s every solution. There is no one solution that is palatable/available to everyone, so it’s not practical to say don’t offer a solution that not everyone can do.

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You don’t get to choose my hill to die on

Boobs.

I like boobs.

Who doesn’t like boobs?

Most people like boobs. I have a fake-hubby who is gay who likes boobs. In the words of the inimitable Tim Minchin:

Fuck, I love boobs, though!
I just really love them.
Fuck, I love boobs, though.
I just want to rub them!

He just really loves boobs! I’ve included the video below because it’s hilarious–but true.

The reason I’m thinking about boobs is because there was a letter to Alison (Ask A Manager) from a busty woman who does not wear a bra to work. She has been chastised by her manager for not wearing one and told she has to put one on. She asked her male coworkers if they were ever told to wear one, and they said no. So, she brought that up with her supervisor.

That did not go over well, as you might have imagined. I knew how the comments were going to go because even in the year of our ruler supreme, 2023, so many American women think that not wearing a bra is unprofessional. I knew it from previous posts on the site, but I had hoped that after three years of a global pandemic in which many women set the girls free whilst working from home, there would be a little more balance about wearing a bra at work. But, no. It’s still, I CAN’T DEAL WITH NIPPLES AHHHH SEX AHHHHHHH YOUR BOOBS JIGGLED. And this is from other women.

So many busty women commented on how they couldn’t imagine not wearing a bra and how horrifying it was. I will just say it here. It’s sad to me that this is the mentality. Women used to say the same thing about corsets and other things that restrained and reshaped the body. Oh, and the ‘the boobs are lower without’ canard? Nope. There was a 15-year study back in 2013 that showed that women who did not wear bras actually had perkier boobs. The theory is that constantly wearing a bra weakens the musscles in the pecs, which makes sense. Here’s the study, and it’s more nuanced than that, of course.

Bottom line, though, is that there is absolutely no health benefit to wearing a bra, so it’s strictly psychological. And in the study, he does say that if you’ve worn a bra for decades, you probably shouldn’t just toss it now.

Since I work from home, I did not wear a bra on the regular for many years. Around five years ago, I just stopped wearing them completely. And I have never felt better. My reasons for stopping were sensory–I hate wearing clothing so the less, the better. When I wear a bra, no matter how comfortable it is, I cannot stop thinking about the fact that I am wearing one.


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I’m such a freak

I’m a freak. I know that. I’ve known it since I was in my twenties. I just didn’t realize to what extent until, well, now. And I’m still realizing it. I wish I had known the extent when I was younger because then maybe i wouldn’t have wasted so many years feeling like there was something wrong with me. And being deeply depressed about it.

One thing I’m still coming to terms with or realizing is…well, it’s more of a question. How much of my weirdness is an actual disability. I’m some flavor of neurodivergent, but I have never been tested because I can mask it well enough for government work. This actually took me until I was in my thirties to fully grasp that people do not think the way I do. Not just in opinions, but in the actual way of thinking.

I have a very high EQ, which is how I can make myself look like a normal person. Something I have difficulties with, though, is very dry humor. Since I use facial and body cues to read someone, it’s hard when they mask that–or make a joke in writing that is very sardonic. My brother does this all the time, which makes it difficult for me. I can usually know when he’s making a joke, though, because I know him well.

Back when I was younger, I was numb all the time. I had to suppress my emotions to the point where I no longer felt them. There was a time when someone could tell me the best news in the world, and I would feel nothing inside. Same with the worst news in the world. “I’m getting married!” Nothing. “My mother died.” Nothing. “I got a promotion at work!” Nothing.

Part of that was because you can’t always tell good news from bad. “I’m pregnant!” is usually good news, but not always. Not if the baby is not wanted or an unpleasant surprise. Or, god forbid, the result of forced sex. “I’m getting divorced!” looks negative on the surface, but for some people, it’s the best thing to happen to them.

Back when I was completely divorced from my emotions, I would have to follow a very elaborate system so I could display the proper emotions. So. Let’s say someone told me they were pregnant. My first step would be to scrutinize their face to see if there were any signs whether they were happy or not about it. If I got the news by text/email, I would pore over the rest of the email/text for clues. Exclamation points? That meant something. Exuberant words? Good. That helped as well. Then I could match their emotions with simulated emotions of my own.

This took less than ten seconds on the average, and I was able to make it seem as if my reactions were natural. With practice, I got it down to two or three seconds. It appeared like an organic reaction, but it wasn’t. With the help of Taiji, I’ve been able to inhabit my body and feel comfortable in it. Dying twice has cemented my love for my body.

I’m still shaky on emotions, but I’m able to feel them more than I ever have. I still go through the process I mentioned above, but it’s at lighnting speed now, rather than several seconds. It’s as if I have a Rolodex (I’m old) of emotions in my head that i rapidly flip through until I find the right one.  So it’s still not organic, but I’m not bothered by it.

It’s interesting. Even knowing that I’m different, a freak, and a weirdo, it’s astounding how far out of the norm I am. And, this is something I have a hard time discussing, that I might actually have disabilities. Believe me. It’s not something my family would have accepted. My father cannot handle the idea of women who actually work outside the home (even though he saw plenty of them when he was the VP of TIER, the Taiwanese Institute for Economic Research) let alone whatever the fuck I am.


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Flip it and reverse it

One phrase that is guaranteed to send me into an instant rage is “But if you reverse the _____ (genders, sexual orientations, races, etc.), then people would be up in arms about it!”

I hate it with the intensity of a thousand suns. Why? Because it strips all context from a situation. “A woman can catcall a man on the streets, but let a woman do it, and suddenly, he’s a creep!”

First of all, the vast majority of women do not catcall on the streets. I’ve not seen a gang of women standing on the corner and hassling random men as they walk by about the size of their package or how they would like the man to nail them hard. And, by the way, let’s assume these women are large, tough, and not the kind of women the guy is sexually inetreested in. It’s not Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, or Uma Thurman wanting to climb their rods. And there is a history of women violently attacking men who turn them down. And men in the workplace were treated like eye candy who were only there as visual decoration. And to be harrassed.

Oh, let’s not forget the sexism of women being held to a double standard at work, too. She is supposed to not be too soft otherwise she’s giving into her girly side. Too cold, however, and she’s a bitch. Women are expected to sooth men and make sure not to rile them up, but they can’t be too diffident about it either.

Then, let’s not forget dress. There are so many pitfalls a woman can fall into with dress, including makeup, stockings, nails, jewelry, hair–and that’s in addition to the clothing itself. There are so many hiddens dos and don’ts when it comes to dressing while female.

So, yeah, add all that to the equation and then maybe you’ll have a point. Otherwise, simply flipping the genders is lazy and doesn’t make the point you think it makes.

This comes into play often around this time because of Christmas. It’s a Christian holiday, but many Christians like to pretend it’s not. They say it’s a cultural holiday and not a Christian one. I’m not disagreeing that ti’s a cultural holiday at this point. But the roots of it is Christian and it’s infuritaing when Christians try to pretend it’s not. Doubly so because we the ‘war on Christmas’ is now a thing that some Christians are waging specifically because they think we have gotten too far away from Christianity during the Christmas season.

This comes up every year on Ask A Manager because of holiday parties. One year, a manager said she put up a small Christmas tree in the lab in which she worked with grad student workers. She asked ahead of time (a few hours) by Slack or Team and claimed no one saaid they had a problem with it. She admitted that she didn’t really give much time for an answer and acknowledged that maybe the students might feel uncomfortable bringing it up, but glossed by it pretty quickly.


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Canceling cancel culture

I was reading up on a controversy concerning The Korean Englishman (Josh from Jolly) in October of 2020. This was during the pandemic and he planned a birthday party for his wife in Seoul (she’s Korean) and videotaped it. The Korean police did not take kindly to it and arrested them. There were other issues with the wife as well. The charges were eventually dropped in April, but many Koreans were done with them. The feeling I got from the things I read was that they had welcomed him into their country with open arms, and this was how he acted? No.

I did not go too deep because, frankly, whatever. But I was looking up something else related to Jolly, and this came up. There was a Reddit thread in which the OP bleated about forgiveness and second chances and cancel culture. My dude. Jolly is doing just fine. Korean Englishman is doing fine as well (I just checked). The latter is still around and getting 3+ million views per video. Josh’s apology video got over 4.5 million views. They are just fine. They will be just fine. So they got that second chance.

But. Even if they did not get the second chance, that’s capitalism, bay-bee. When people talk about the free market deciding (granted, that is mostly Americans and they need to shut their traps), this is exactly what they mean. If there had been enough people disgusted by what happened who turned off the channel that it caused the channel to be shut down, well, that would be the market deciding. When Americans bleat about free market, they never think about if it goes in the direction they would prefer it didn’t.

When marriage equality was an issue in America–and I hate that it was up for a vote in the first place–there was a gay bar in…I want to say Tucson, but really, it could have been anywhere that stopped allowing bachelorette parties in the bar while the debate raged on. They said, “We love our straight sisters, but if we can’t marry, you can’t drink here.” I applauded their decision and I hope that more places start doing this in response to religious freedom. Won’t bake a cake for a gay couple? Fine. Then gay bakeries don’t have to bake them for straight people. Also, as Margaret Cho said in one of her bits about gay men who worked in the wedding industry, “If we can’t get married, you can’t get married.”

It’s the same when Roe v. Wade was overturned. I was advocating a full Lysistrata for those who could afford to do it without putting themselves in harm’s way. Honestly, I’ve gone a long time without sex and I’m in peri-menopause. I’m not in any hurry to have PIV sex as long as I can conceivably, well, conceive. It’s just not that important to me, and I love PIV sex. But I love even more not having children. MN still has legal abortion, but I’m still mad over Roe v. Wade being overturned. Furious.


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What if we all cared less?

It’s fascinating to me to read Ask A Manager to see what the norms are in the working world. Today, there was a question from a manager who’s college grad hire has made a pillow fort (a ‘nest’) in her office. She’s going to get an officemate soon (a new hire), and her manager wants to know how to approach the topic with her report. The manager has not seen it, but it has been reported to her by other managers.

Alison started out by saying she loved the idea of a pillow fort, which is why I like her so much. Because I, too, love the idea of a pillow fort. In fact, I work from my couch in what could be described as a blanket nest of my own. And my instinct is that if she’s not public-facing and if she weren’t about to get an officemate, let her have her blanket nest

Not surprisingly, most people were anti-pillow fort. But in the ‘I personally have no issue with it, but business norms!’ kind of way. Which is how many of them reacted to other issues such as wearing a bra and not shaving your underarms. I’ll get to that in a minute.

There was another letter from someone who was neurodivergent and did martial arts. He wrote in to ask if it would be seen as weird if he did some of his martial arts practices at work, including some forms, combat rolling to get things off the lower shelf, and standing in a deep horse stance. There were several of us who did martial arts, and we told him that some of it like the combat rolls and practicing the forms in the lunch room would seem odd.

Most of us emphasized that if he wanted to do it, it was fine, but he had to accept that he would be seen as weird, which he did not like at all. I said there are things from Taiji that I do automatically (like breathing and posture), but that I wouldn’t do weapons forms in an office. I can save that for home. Honestly, things like that seem performative. Same with the combat roll to get something off a lower shelf. He was snitty in the comments saying he guessed he’d have to hurt himself and not do it the way he normally would, which is bullshit. You don’t need to combat roll to get something off a low shelf in order to not hurt yourself.

Also, we stressed that he can do any of it, but there will be a perception that he’s being weird. He just has to decide if he’s ok with it or not. Many of us who did martial arts didn’t like the performative aspect of what he was doing. All of us know that guy who struts around the gym/dojo acting as if his shit don’t stink.


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The power of possibility

Life is strange. That’s not just the name of a video game, that’s a fact of life. It’s been nearly 11 months since I died, so it’s almost my re-birthday. I’ll be 1 years old on September 3rd. At least that’s how I choose to look at it. And since I came back to life, the country has exploded into bullshit. I am still mad about the SCOTUS ruling on Roe (and will die mad), and I hate all the “don’t say gay” bills that are cropping up as well. We know that the religious nuts aren’t done yet and will be going after all the protected classes next.

But here’s the thing. For me, personally, it has really opened my eyes. This is not why I came back to life. It’s not what I want for the next generation and beyond. I gave up the abortion beat because I got tired, and it infuriates me that we are tumbling backwards on this issue as well as others (such as trans rights).

So. This first year back to life has been about adjusting to the fact that I didn’t permanently die. It’s weird. It’s the most momentous thing that’s happened to me, but…and I mean this non-facetiously, it’s not a factor in my daily life. I do everything I did before landing in the hospital and more. My reflexes are even worse than before–I realized this because I’m struggling with a boss in Scholar of the First Sin. It’s widely considered the hardest boss of the game–Fume Knight. I’ve done him solo before, but I’ve mostly fought him with human summons. I can’t do that right now, so I’m limited to the two NPC summons. They’re good, but I’m falling a few hits short every time. I was literally one hit away the second time I fought him and just got steadily worse.

There is no cheese for this guy. He has 10,100 HP and is resistant to almost everything. Slightly less so to magic, but not by much. And I cannot gauge his attacks any longer, especially in the second phase. This is my biggest weakness–I have to be able to tank the damage because I can’t judge space very well. And, yes, I’ve done the plat for this game recently, but you don’t have to do most of the DLCs for the plat. So I have not fought this guy for some time.

I’ve never had an easy time with him without a human summon. He’s just everything I hate about the games. He’s fast and hits hard. He has a half-dozen moves, and there’s a delay on some of them. Not all of them, though. And he does three-hit combos. And there’s a sweep in the second phase that is painfully slow and wide-ranging. You really have to study his moves in order to get them down, and that’s not my strong point.


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I’m no one’s inspiration

I am not anyone’s inspiration p0rn. Abbreviated inspo p0rn, apparently, which I appreciate. I was reading an Ask A Manager post about disability and the workplace, and it’s really frustrating how even the most woke of women (the vast majority of her commentariat are female-presenting people) felt the need to say that the actions of the company were well-intended before going on with their comment. It became almost comical because it was a compunction to note that the company was well-meaning.

Who the fuck cares? Intent is not magic and the knee-jerk reaction shows how little we value people with disabilities. But, the commenters said, it’s would be worse if they meant to be malicious! Would it really, though? The end result is the same. In fact, in some ways, the fact that they were trying to be nice, but missed the mark by so much is almost worse because as the comments showed, there was not an insignificant portion of people who feel that the OP should have been grateful, regardless of the delivery.

There was one commenter who was oddly insistent that the OP needed to apologize or at least treat her coworkers/manager with kids gloves because they (the manager/coworkers) had to be crushed that their ‘good intentions’ landed so flatly. The commenter said that she would have been devastated if that happened to her and the other person reacted so poorly (in her eyes). Which, while not helpful, does underscore the point that there are people who only care about their own feelings and their own intentions.

Several people tried to argue with this commenter, but she was not swayed. The feelings of the manager and coworkers were more important than the feelings of the person aggrieved! And to be clear, the actions of the coworkers/manager were egregious.

Side Note: The golden rule is a bad rule. Treating others as you would want to be treated is part of the problem in this case. The platinum rule (which was mentioned in the comments) is better. Treat others as THEY want to be treated. And in this case, it was so simple. They only had to ask her what she wanted. Instead, they did it all behind her back (including making a cartoon caricature of her to place on the handicapped sign in the parking lot!!!!) and made a big display of it, expecting her to be grateful.

There are so many things wrong with what they did, it’s hard to enumerate them all. And in the end, their intentions don’t matter because they did it all without her input. There’s a phrase for any minority group that goes something like ‘nothing about us without us’. It’s paternalistic to decide something for someone else without asking them what they want.

In my case, I have gone round and round about being inspo p0rn because of what happened to me seven months ago. I understand that it’s highly-unusual. In fact, I can comfortably use the word ‘miracle’ to describe it. I defied death–twice. I was hit with walking pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and a stroke within twenty minutes. I should be dead. I’ve accepted that. The fact that I’m not dead IS a miracle. I accept that as well.


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A mélange, a potpourri, and an olio–but mostly Lil Nas X

My brain has been jumping all over the place and my sleep has sucked, so this post is going to meander more than usual. I’m going to pull back the curtain a bit on how I write posts. Not on the writing itself because that’s usually just put down whatever is in my brain. No, it’s about how I decide what to write about. Normally, there’s something pressing on my brain and I let that flow from my fingers until I’ve said all I need to say on the subject or until  I lose interest. Sometimes, it’s both, but sometimes it’s one or the other.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with my concentration for reasons I don’t want to get into. Suffice to say, it’s not as easy to get shit done as it used to be. Most of the time, I just grit my teeth and force myself to write the post. It may not be as long as it normally is or very good, but I get it done, damn it. Today, however, I’m going to write about whatever is on my mind with no attempt at coherency. Here we go.

Lil Nas X. I didn’t know he existed until yesterday when I read something about Satan Shoes, his new kicks. That he’s selling. Oh, and he’s a rapper? Singer? Both? Anyway, there are 666 pairs and they contain drops of human blood. That’s all I knew when I made this tweet:

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Consent is hot as hell

I’ve been struggling with anger in the past week, and now it’s come crashing down around me and has settled into a thick goo of depression. i have a hard time finding motivation for anything, and I have a fatalistic viewpoint. I mean, I do in general, but it’s especially bad right now. I have the tendency to be negative, and the pandemic sure isn’t helping.

Side note: My right eye has been twitching for no reason. This has happened in the past, but not to the extent it’s happening now. In addition, my sleep has been really fucked over the days. Not unusual for me, but it’s reverting back to early days sleep, which is discouraging. I don’t sleep enough, and then I’m drowsy all day. Then, when I try to sleep, I’m suddenly wide awake.

As my readers know, I am a big fan of advice columns. I call them my stories, and I have a loop I do every morning. One of them is, was, Doctor Nerdlove, and I need to talk about it. I want to say before getting into the controversy that while I enjoyed reading his column, I did not like his podcasts or his videos. It was puzzling to me how someone who could write a good column with solid advice could not do videos/podcasts well (in my opinion, of course). In addition, while I agreed with his general advice, his specific tips in dating were borderline cringe-worthy to me. His idea of flirting was aggressive and skewed cliched, and if he were to his tricks on me in real life, I would be very turned off. That said, his general advice was sound, and I allowed it to overcome the grimace I always had when I read his specific advice. This is relevant to the rest of the post, I promise.

So, there has been a spate of stories about sexual harassment in different branches of geek culture. Games and comic to be more specific. Doctor NL wrote a post about a mentor of his who was accused of…not exactly sexual harassment, but of sexualizing the attractive young women in his forum in a way that would assume de facto pressure. He had a lot of clout in the industry (comics), and a leg up from him would do a lot for someone’s career. Add to that the fact that comics are still largely white dudes, and it’s easy to see how he could use his power for evil.

In the comments, there were people who didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Distressing, but common. There was one dude who ‘just wanted to understand’ and kept asking questions. It was clear that he really did want to understand, but he was coming at it from the wrong angle. I had a Twitter interaction with an Asian friend that was crashed by a rando who was ‘just asking questions’ about a racial issue, but it became quickly clear that he wasn’t arguing in good faith. I muted him and moved along with my life. In the above case, however, it didn’t really matter that the guy was arguing in good faith because the starting point was so different for him and for the actual situation. He didn’t think the behavior was bad enough to classify as damaging, which was pretty myopic of him. But, it’s sadly common in that people often feel that they are the standard of norm. I’ll delve more into that in the future.

A few days after this, the doc then penned a post about his own situation. He was at a con in 2017 and was flirting with a woman at a bar. He’s in an open marriage, so there’s nothing there (unless he didn’t mention it to the woman involved). By his own recount, they flirted and had chemistry. He thought it was going well, so he reached over, gently wove his fingers through her hair, and lightly tugged.


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